Internet post dated 8-14-2012

I heard that MHS has ceased to exist as of today. The sale of the
assets to Passionato by the Nissim family is now complete.

MHS was started as  a small, NYC-based operation by a Dr Naida, who
had good musical sense but no business sense. He quickly sold the
business to Al Nissim, who was involved in the direct marketing of
wigs, among other things, and who felt it would be neat to own a music
company. Most of us who became members of MHS did so during the time
the Nissims owned the business. MHS saw it's first real success when
they marketed the Palliard recording of the Pachelbel Canon, basically
putting that piece on the map in America. The family's fortunes were
made on the strength of offering that LP as a loss leader to gain new
members, who then received LP after LP of unordered "negative option"
LPs that kept showing up in the mail. Enough were kept and enough
invoices were paid to make for a tidy business.

They stayed in business for many years, operating as a family owned
record club that had the classical ground to themselves until BMG
decided to really go after the classical market in the early 90s. That
caused them real angst as BMG's aggressive pricing structure wreaked
havoc on the high CD prices MHS was charging its members. MHS had to
follow suit, and the business got a lot more complicated. Eventually,
MHS started offering more finished goods and a greater variety of
product, looking to sell multiple CDs to a smaller customer base,
rather than a single CD to millions.

Between the pressure brought by BMG, the evolution of the internet and
the fatiguing of the club model with the public, MHS's fate was
sealed. After Al Nissim passed away, the sons looked to sell off the
business while it was still worth something, and they did sell to
James Glicker and his Passionato group. MHS continued to do
fulfillment out of their warehouse for about a year, and the MHS name
was kept active to transition former MHS members into Passionato's
online business.

While Passionato still offers a "Record of the month," members must
actively order it, rather than it being shipped to them through
negative option, which was the hallmark of the record clubs (MHS, RCA
and Columbia House).

The following letter appears today on the Passionato website:

A Letter From the Editor

Dear Member,

We have just passed an important milestone — it has been a year since
Passionato bought the assets of Musical Heritage Society from its
parent company. It has been three months since we took over the
warehousing and billing operations from the same company. It has been
a rocky period that inconvenienced some customer and, again, we
apologize. The good news is that the majority of errors from the
conversion have been resolved. If you are still experiencing issues,
please contact me personally at [log in to unmask]

Before we get to the sale catalog headlines, I would like to make an
important announcement. From now on, if you want to receive the Record
of the Month you must check the box on your order form, order online
at or call a customer care representative.

Next month's catalog will also be dramatically redesigned in order to
go to a full-sized magazine and enlarge the type size for easier
reading. Please look at the brochure in this catalog containing more
details about your next issue.

James Glicker

President, Passionato

The latest cover of the Passionato Review catalog notes that this
catalog is "formerly the MHS Review."

So, rest in peace, I guess, MHS.

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 10:50 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Gary is right about MHS.  They licensed any number of distinguished
> European recordings, but I believe that they also made some of their own
> recordings early on.  As I recall, the company was founded by a cellist
> named something like Naida, who appears as a player on some of the earlier
> chamber music recordings.  I had a lot of MHS recordings in my youth (still
> have them) and loved many of them.  It was an education in baroque music,
> with the likes of Kurt Redel, Marie-Claire Alain, Jean Pierre Rampal, Karl
> Ristenpart (fantastic conductor!), I solisti Veneti, and many more very
> great musicians.  I bought the MHS Goberman Vivaldi recordings, which I
> still have somewhere, but too many of them are clearly rough
> sight-reading.  The quality of the pressings was almost always excellent. I
> know someone who is a friend of one of the descendants of the owner of the
> label, and this thread reminds me to follow up about what happened to the
> MHS master tapes.
> As for Remington and related labels, I have followed that trail some years
> ago.  With a few exceptions, the masters are lost.  The owner of the label
> died and his widow sold everything to a guy who was indicted and convicted
> for fraud.  The Feds seized all the assets, including the Remington
> masters, and they were never seen again, undoubtedly destroyed (one cannot
> find that out).  A few of them survived because they were loaned out and
> not returned, and about a dozen of those were later reissued in fine
> pressings on Varese Sarabande. I don't know where those masters are
> now--the guy who did the reissues, with whom I spoke, won't say and won't
> let anyone access them.  .
> Dave, don't you think that the Concert Hall label and assets were simply
> bought by someone in the UK?  It would be wonderful to find out where those
> master tapes went.
> Best,
> John Haley
> On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 9:46 AM, Gary A. Galo <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Everything MHS issued was legitimate and under license. They never used
> > pseudonyms.
> >
> > Gary
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nick Morgan
> > Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:42 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: [ARSCLIST] FW: [ARSCLIST] classical music LPs to CDs
> >
> > Living in the UK, we don't see as many MHS LPs (or CDs) as you, but I
> have
> > seen many of the European discs they originated from, and I've never seen
> > any name changes beyond those deemed necessary to make maybe unfamiliar
> > European ensemble names more transparent to US buyers.
> >
> > I'm no expert on the history of MHS - I wish I was - but I don't believe
> > they would have needed to use pseudonyms, as they didn't (to my
> knowledge)
> > issue European radio tapes which might have fallen off the back of a
> lorry,
> > but licensed commercial European originations on a totally legit (and
> always
> > acknowledged) basis. I'd welcome any correction.
> >
> > I believe MHS also originated material itself, or at least co-produced.
> > One example is the Bach Cello Suites recorded by Nikolaus Harnoncourt;
> > another is his Marin Marais LP. Both were licensed by Harmonia Mundi
> > France, and are often assumed to be HM originations - but I don't think
> > that's right. Seems odd, I know, that MHS should have a hand in these but
> > in fact it had issued some of his earlier recordings made in Europe by
> > Metronome and Amadeo. I'd love to know more but I fear that MHS's paper
> > archive, if there was one, may already have bitten the dust.
> >
> > In fact, I'd love it if ARSC could look into the feasibility of a
> register
> > of record company archives, not to mention master tapes - which would
> also
> > include a register of known losses and destructions. But I realise
> that's a
> > very big, erm... ask.
> >
> > Nick
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
> > Sent: 10 August 2017 13:53
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] classical music LPs to CDs
> >
> > On 2017-08-10 12:55 AM, Paul Stamler wrote:
> > >
> > > Tracing what became of the 1950s labels (and their master tapes) might
> > > make a nice article for the ARSC Journal.
> > >
> >
> >
> > And that brings to my mind, what happened to Musical Heritage Society? I
> > lost track of them when I left NYC in 1981 (if not before), but I
> > understand that they moved from their over-stuffed Broadway office to
> some
> > place in New Jersey. I have a bunch of their LPs. They offered an
> > interesting way to explore music at reduced cost. Of course you always
> had
> > to send that blasted coupon back every month or you got something you
> > didn't want!
> >
> > My understanding was that many of their recordings were repurposed
> > European recordings. Were they guilty of changing the names of the
> > players/ensembles like some others?
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Richard
> > --
> > Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> > Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
> >
> > Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
> >